vrijdag 5 december 2014

Requiem: Chapter 3



            The separation between the Old and New World had been created over a long period of riots and revolts. This was the effect of several financial crises which eventually led to a worldwide economic destabilization. At the origin of these financial recessions was the inefficient control of the banking sector, the unlimited use of risky credits and the abuse of trust towards the client. They hadn’t learned from the fiascos of the European banks in the early years of the 21st century and they offered again after a few decennia of submitting, ingenious air-bubbles to the customer.
            As everybody knows, even a child, an air-bubble has two characteristics. On one hand, it produces wonderful colors, a rainbow of promises, just as attractive as a colored balloon to a child. On the other hand, when an air-bubble splashes open, the only thing that is left is air. This time people didn’t take it anymore, the regular Joes didn’t believe the promises this time of yet another reorganization of the financial sector, people didn’t trust the laws anymore institutional powers laid on the banks. The taxes which were raised for the umpteenth time stayed stuck in the throat of the people. Men swallowed once again, but now they spat out the reforms of the government so fast as they possibly could. Too much is too much! The poor became poorer and the rich had a monopoly in both the Eurozone as in the rest of the world.
            First, there were protests on a small scale. But these were growing in a few weeks as an enormous high current to a cascade of deadly waterfalls which came down in the form of uncontrolled destruction and human violence. Worldwide the stock exchange crashed and the banks were harassed by people who wanted to ensure their hard-earned saving money. In some of the countries, there were bloody rebellions which in certain regions grow into a regular civil war. The population, due to these riots and uprisings, was decimated for a part in the first phase.
            Violent spoliations both by grown up men as young people of all kinds of groups of the population were everyday occurrences. What they didn’t possess, they stole. What people wanted, they took. Sometimes by excessive force! Rapes, public executions without a proper trial were countless and mostly for trivial reasons. Sometimes the victims were government leaders who were guilty of crimes against humanity, but also of countless men and women who were accidently at the wrong place at the wrong moment. Lawlessness was in power and chaos was preaching his credo.
            Governments were overthrown. In some countries, a part of the army forces chose the side of the population. There were some wars with conventional weapons, but here and there in a growing madness someone pushed a few times on a button and cities disappeared from the earth as if they had never existed. Tsunamis submerged the low-lying countries. Those who lived at sea level or below were birds for the cat. When the violence of the water ended the mainland was a big cemetery. Besides this reaction of nature on the impact of nuclear bombs, there was the fall-out that saw to a further decimation of the population. The over-population of China was solved in a few months. The deadliest consequence of the bombardments was a mass of victims. The fall-out took care of the rest of the people in these regions. For them, it was a slow and painful death. In a great part of the world, there was a nuclear winter!
            Comprehensive zones were placed in quarantine and survivors were abandoned to their fate. Eventually, a great portion died of the consequences of radiation of simply starvation. It was hell on earth, the devil had the power and his kingdom was visibly rising.
            But as so many times during the evolution of men there were some individuals with common sense. Individuals also who because of the experiments with special medication and injections were immune to the radiation or had simply a bit of luck. People in the aftermath of the devastations came together in small groups and formed new communities and grew into new nations.
            This was happening both in the West as in the East. There was a period that was called, ‘The Second Cold War’, an era of distrust and incomprehension between the two zones and as usual each of them put the blame of the ravages with the opposing group.
            The map of the world was drawn again. Due to the nuclear attacks, there were earthquakes, eruptions of new and old volcanoes, mudslides and new islands submerged out of the ocean. Where before China and Japan had the East China Sea, as part of the Pacific Ocean, as a natural frontier, nowadays these nations were connected. The tectonic plates had pushed up the sea-bottom between the two nations and now both of them were joined by land. The Chinese population was so depleted, that besides the men who were fleeing to Korea or Japan, there wasn’t much left of the superpower they once were. The local disputes from the 21st century about the oil wells from this zone were now one of the lesser problems.
            In the 15th century, they gave North- and South America the name of the New World because of the discovery by European explorers of these new contingents. Now in 2112 it was just the opposite. After the Big War, the name that the conflict has been given,  both the New World in the East as the Old World in the West were engaging in self-flagellation. It was a time of irreparable distrust. There were still little conflicts and reciprocal reproaches. With every confrontation, the guilt was put on the other side. So many years passed without approach between the two worlds.
            The Old World with America as forerunner and Japan and China as most important representatives of the New World in the East realized after a number of decennia this couldn’t go on like this. There was a decision that the quarantine zones which were called the Deeplands, because of the thousands of craters in the area between both worlds, became an obvious frontier between the two superpowers. This frontier was eventually the first step in a fragile and armed peace.
So it went on for decades. Generation after generation had to learn about the war years and their consequences as an obligatory discipline in their education. Both worlds were rebuilt step by step. New governments came to power. There were voted new and better laws and slowly there was a rapprochement between both parties. First by individuals, ordinary people who communicated via the restored internet in spite of the prohibition of the government and the controls by various means of communication.
Some seeds were planted in fertile earth and they grew, slowly but in their wayward manner that is typical of life, they grew up. Fragile in the beginning, it was an exploring of limits, a rediscovering and appreciating of new cultures and mental legacy. There was hope again and where there’s hope there is life.
Tokyo, the eastern city got a new sister at his borders. They chose a very fitting name for the new city. This in contrast to the past years which were marked by destruction and a constantly unsafe feeling, an ever more present awareness of danger to the population.
Sanctuary’ became the new capital and had to make this super modern capital of the New World a place where people felt safe after all this years of violence of war. As the meaning of the word Sanctuary explains, the city had to be a ‘place of refuge’ and ‘security’. It possessed all his aspects, the latest novelties and applications in the field of science, architecture, ICT, robotics with their specific applications in domestics and many more sharp-mindedness in the field of technology. Hundreds of architects had studied over this project and after a period of destruction, these new buildings and this modern creations were a crown on the head of Homo sapiens, a force who was the reason for their long existence. It was the force of survival, the unstoppable urge for change and progress.
And then there came a day that messages about mysterious disappearances at the frontiers of the Deeplands reached the population. Both governments from the Old as the New World sent several armed surveying troops to look into this matter at their frontiers. Sometimes they disappeared also, but after a while, these troops discovered a third world.
It was a world that was called in the vernacular the ‘Catacombs’ because it was situated underground, in the dark, inside and around the tunnels that meandered under and between the craters. A maze that was populated by the deformed creatures who fed with all that was eatable. Rodents, insects or even worms that by the nuclear violence had taken grotesque forms. There was a day that people knew for sure. The inhabitants of the Catacombs ate human meat!
In those days special committees, both in the New as the Old World, laid contact and debated about this problem, proposed solutions and rejected them again. What to do without further destroying Mother Nature to confine this danger? Because of the fragile peace that was reigning, they decided to demarcate those regions and to guard those places with all the means at their disposal.
A wall of steel hooks connected the many layers of barbed wire that were built around these zones. Soldiers patrolled day and night in the neighborhood. On both sides, there were still messages of disturbing disappearances. They were powerless against the unannounced and bloody nocturnal food-raids of the Cannibals, a nickname they got for obvious reasons. The barbed wire or the sentries didn’t always keep them away. Sometimes a patrol found the bones of a poor devil that were gnawed off. They were in a certain way helpless against the unpredictable attacks of the Cannibals.
            The world used what they could get, both in the East as in the West, and they made the best of what they got. Sometimes they caught a few inhabitants of the Catacombs. Prisoners were interrogated and invariably they had to find out that this sort of people were a very odd kind of men with a peculiar language that existed of husky sounds and secondary gestures. The aging of the prisoners was the biggest problem. After a few days on the surface, they got a fever, went into a coma and died in the first week after their arrest. Some committed suicide before it came to that. There wasn’t much information about the actions of the Cannibals yet.
            The United States of the Western Community in the Old World pursued an austere safety policy. This United States of The Western Community existed out of the former United States of America, South- and Central America, Africa and a part of Europe.
            Of course, you had the inevitable and deadly problem of the radiation. But Japan had in the pre-war years experimented with new methods to prevent radiation sickness. Nanoparticles in the food and also through injection laid at the base of a genetic manipulation with men, in this way that on a cellular level the radiation had less chance to grow into a cancer. The investigations and test phases were a very well-kept industry secret from before the Big War. A vaccination of both grownups as the younger generations made them a whole lot stronger against this invisible killer. Besides that, men had to take their daily dose of medication. The combined effect of both, the vaccination and the medicines, made it possible to live in a world where radiation was a known fact, probably still for a very long time. This technology was unselfishly shared with the Old World, a big step in the rapprochement between both super powers and the first even bigger step to mutual trust.
            On the other side of the globe, the Old World developed a technique where everyone was being chipped with a miniscule identification chip. It was also an implementation of nanotechnology. A little routine operation with great consequences. The chip was brought in subcutaneous near the brain stem. This nanochip fused with the Medulla Oblongata. The connection with the prolonged marrow of the brain stem existed on one hand out of a microscopic little semi-conductor material and on the other hand out of natural nanofabrics to counteract the rejection processes.         
            In the first days after the implantation, fine fibers developed out of these miniscule fabrics and they sought connection with very specific parts of the brain like the amygdala, the hypothalamus and few other parts of the brain. These parts gave access to different data that was stored in the brain during a human lifetime.
            A pioneering discovery in the area of the science of nanotechnology and neurology. This mini piece of hardware encapsulated after a few days through the attachment of natural fabrics with the brain stem and through countless fibers. They constituted a sort of neural connection between different parts of the brain and the nanochip. The implanting of the nanochip in the prolonged marrow made it practically impossible to remove it afterwards without irreparable damage to the brain. The encapsulation and the intertwining with the different parts of the brain of the person concerned would catalogue an attempt to remove as a surgical murder.
            In this way, everybody could be followed as a little light between every other identification point on a map. Under the nominative of ‘safety for everyone’ privacy became a superseded and archaic concept. Whatever more possibilities the chip could have, was a well-kept secret, only known to a few insiders and not to forget the design engineers? ‘They’ had the real power.
            Of course, there was resistance against such a measure. However, this protest was quickly nipped in the bud with convincing arguments and sometimes with the necessary power of the gun. After the nuclear adventure, it was easy to show people the necessity of being detectable. This to avoid that someone should find himself without knowing in the proximity of a fallout zone, with all the risks of health whatever they may be. Measures in benefit of health were mostly accepted with gratitude by the people. What was more, it was for free!
            Nobody of the survivors wanted to die of some kind of cancer if there was a way to avoid it. Someone with the nanochip received a danger signal in the brains when close to a fallout region. Death knocked about invisibly and those ones who weren’t convinced directly, were persuaded by the majority of believers and chipped anyway after a while. And the chip worked! The government made controls and all who was visually spotted and didn’t show on the radar, was picked up. Within a very short period of time, those were chipped also. The verification and the treatment of chip-free persons in the countries of the United States of the Western Community laid in the hand of the International Chip Scanning Agency. In short, ICSA. With the chip and the medication and vaccinations, life in the Old World had become a lot safer. The piece of privacy that people had to turn in was subordinate to the result, at least according to the inhabitants of the Old World.
            The problem was situated in the total and unconditional rejection of the process of chipping by the New World. After the last revolution in China and Korea by which scientists and prominent representatives of education - both professors as students, this time supported by the army - had taken the power and new values were introduced. The whole political executive, except a few individuals, had died in the aftermath of the nuclear winter or during the riots of the revolution. They were substituted by a committee of prominent scientists, students and professors. They were, considering the decimation of the Chinese population and a great part of the Deeplands that plowed through China after the Big War, mostly dependent on what Japan decided in the Chamber of Councils. Wherein indeed there were also representatives of Korea and China. The midget had become a giant and vice versa.
            Where before, you could be locked up because of your opinion, nowadays free speech was advertised, without restraint of fear of reprisals. The most important decisions weren’t taken by individuals who had a monopoly, but by the Chamber of Councils which was composed of persons out of all the classes of society from the countries of the New World. Democracy never had tasted so sweet in the New World.
            That’s why the rapprochement between the two Worlds with the natural wall of fall-out zones, was a process that took a long time. These regions were situated near the East-European countries, the former Russian states and a great part of China that was changed nowadays in a desolate moon landscape. One great nuclear ruin!

copyright Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

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