More from The Next Age

The Next Age 2

Yet again here is another snippet, as before out of context and sans dialogue – there’s no point in my giving away the plot now is there. After all, at this stage of the proceedings my job is simply to intrigue you the prospective reader. Oh, one other thing, before my American cousins chastise me for the way certain words are spelt, I must point out one tiny detail – I am an Englishman. Consequently I write using the original form of my native language, English English and no other. 

Now read and hopefully enjoy…

***

Prior to the suffering inflicted by the meteor bombardment, various political commentators were often to be heard quoting the hackneyed phrase – a week in politics is a long time, when referring to the fast growing anti CEDF movement which was still gathering momentum at an alarming rate within rebellious political circles across the entire planet when the fleet returned.

As for the men and women serving alongside Glen, the last two months spent defending humanity from extra-terrestrial threats in the depths of space, far from their love ones and the reassuring sight of the Solar System’s planets, not to mention being able to see the constellations once more in their familiar configurations as viewed from Earth, seemed like an eternity.

So much had changed at home during the time they had been away. The world’s infrastructure had ceased its struggle to repair itself after the destruction caused by the meteors. Or to put it another way, what was left of the world of big business finally had to admit defeat, collapsing never to be revived in the immediate future, or indeed ever again under the present set of circumstances.

By now the number of dead had risen to well over five billion worldwide. Still not buried or cremated, their rotting corpses were fast becoming a major health hazard as they slowly broke down. Inevitably bodily fluids entered the water table. Feral dogs and cats picked through the remains looking for a morsel of flesh after wild carnivores had fed from the countless piles of bodies.

Clouds of flies and mosquitos were attracted to them by the gut wrenching odour; passing on many diseases to mankind when they laid their eggs on freshly killed meat products, which were already a major health hazard that normally would never reach the consumer markets, because of the radioactive particles still being broadcast via the winds, that were inevitably ingested by the unfortunate animals as they grazed, prior to them being butchered to feed the hungry masses.

Circumstances could no longer be described as normal by any stretch of the imagination. By now mankind had also begun killing and consuming its household pets, simply to stave off hunger. Daily life for those still fit enough to forage consisted of only one thing, seek out the location of your next meal and kill anyone you deemed to be in competition with you for that meal.

When something like the meteor bombardment destroyed vast tracts of our planet ending civilization as we know it, it had taken a surprisingly short period of time for us to revert from what we previously thought of as a normal, cultured, advanced society living in the thirty-second century, to an existence comparable to that of our cave dwelling ancestors from thousands of years in the dim distant past.

No living creature was deemed to be safe from our re-awakened primeval inbuilt natural instinct for predation when it came to our survival. When you are dying from starvation as countless millions undoubtedly are, it matters little where you obtained your next meal, or what it had previously been when alive. Nor does it matter that the water, beer, milk, wine, bread, meat, fish, fruit, rice and vegetables you are consuming is contaminated, providing you get to live for one more day.

Rather than risk being infected themselves, armed gangs of survivalists shot on sight anyone they deemed to be disease ridden whenever a group of strangers were seen approaching from the direction of a known location of bodies, hoping to join a community. Survival at any cost had replaced any former humane feelings towards the sick, the starving and the dying.

***

Meanwhile in Washington, as a consequence of the political revolt and with no effective backing from the senate and congress, Brewer had been forced from his post as Commander in Chief of the CEDF in what amounted to a bloodless coup by the world government alliance, after information about his presidential directives to Glen was leaked to what now passed for the international press.

This revelation had not been broadcast via the use of computer links, radio, or television satellite broadcasts, because they no longer existed since the technology they depended on was destroyed in the initial meteorite bombardment. Instead it had been passed to the world’s remaining politicians via the hastily resurrected, antiquated nineteenth century wireless telegraphy system, utilizing long forgotten submarine cables that still crossed the world’s oceans.

When the alliance learned about what had happened on Sekker and what was about to happen on Orune, they immediately demanded Brewer’s resignation, crossing a line in the sand between what was necessary for humanity’s survival, tragic as it undoubtedly was, and sheer political cowardice. In short, all they wanted now was to sue for peace. The fact that it was already too late, simply did not register with the thousands of politicians involved who had been totally against the formation of the defence force right from the start, particularly since they were prohibited from any form of control by Brewer’s shoot on sight order. Forthcoming events would soon end any further thoughts of an honourable peace between mankind and the rest of the universe for the foreseeable future.

I’m almost at the end of the novella. More later if you are good  😉

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