A mutant strain had been created in an unknown laboratory for the purpose of biological warfare, a silent drone attack then dispersed the substance into the air, creating a fatal mist that seized the village. Considered a test material for bio-warfare, then later classified as a virus, it proved to be fatal, as mutations and fatalities spread throughout the village. Although there had been other airborne agents before, none were as toxic as the classified virus, and would later be disclosed to have manifested during an experiment, mutating on its own, that rapidly grew out of control. It had been used for the testing of immune efficiency against viral and bacterial infection. However the fear and chaos created by its lethal potential was like nothing that had ever been experienced before. The small unknown village was among the first for the trial run, since it was considered to be far enough away from any metro area, should anything go wrong, which could then lead to catastrophic revelations. The experiment worsened when it was discovered that the deadly strain had been made too strong, causing fatalities from exposure in just eight minutes.
The teen boy had witnessed the devastation from the safety of a sealed concrete bunker under the house, where he had been tending to his model rocket collection, and heard the shrieks coming from the villagers outside. His name was Reg, he had made a model of the solar system, and was fascinated with rockets and space travel, having several completed model rockets and spaceships of his own. He liked to spend time in the bunker because it was where he had created his own imaginative world, where he could venture into the beyond.
The bunker was already there when his parents moved into the house, it had been left over from the war, and the family was considered fortunate to have obtained such a place. It was small in size, just eight feet square, having one small viewing portal just at the top of a corner where the concrete walls joined to meet the concrete roof eight feet above, it was just big enough to peer out at ground level, being just four inches high by eight inches wide. The small opening was filled with a thick piece of glass that had been taken from discarded stained glass used in a nearby church, then sealed with epoxy resin, some of which had oozed downward over the glass, leaving only a partial view through what had been left clear enough to see through. Beyond that was another eight inches of concrete to the outside of the structure, if the outside grass and dirt were kept up, one would have a partial view of the area directly ahead, however from the outside, the small opening was undetectable. Placing a wooden shoeshine box to stand on, was where Reg had witnessed what he could see and hear during the devastation, though muffled and with limited view, he was quite aware of the consequences, and knew that he must not stray from his safety inside the bunker. The bizarre occurrence would forever impact his life, and shape the course of his future . . .
Remaining inside the bunker for days afterword until authorities came to rescue him, Reg already understood all too well the reality of his parents fate, and that only he had survived . . . Saving what he could from his imaginative world of space to bring with him, he was then transported out of the village, and later relocated.
The Mars Mission Site sprawled across the land that once was home to the small unknown village that had been forgotten after the viral fallout left the area devastated, and void of any life form, be it plant, animal, or human. Wiping out the residents quickly, before anyone realized what was happening to them, it was later dozed over as if it never existed, with the memories of that day buried along with it, also having been classified, but as an incident. The space program then began discovery of the beyond at a more accelerated pace, to know more about the options of interplanetary life, and would later would expand to the point of transporting humans to Mars for the purpose of regenerating new world colonies. The Moon had already been explored, with its own sub-colonies that had taken the discovery even farther, providing the foundation for the Mars expeditions, and the colonizers.
As he looked out over the enormity of the X-11 launch site from his tower office, Reg turned and reached up to a shelf where he had some rocket and spaceship models, as he adjusted the framed newspaper article about his rescue, in the photo he was holding one of the rockets displayed on his office shelf . . . he then looked out again across the site. Another mission to Mars was scheduled, and onboard would be more selected passengers for the new world colonies. Still after all the years, memories of his small unknown village being annihilated never left his mind, and was what had fueled his desire to learn more about space travel, to discover a better world, and to travel to the beyond . . .
Still devastation would follow, grinding more areas down to their charred blackened remains, while the need to explore the beyond became one with the need for survival, as time and life on Earth were held captive in uncertainty.
Only he knew that the bunker had survived, and where it remained entombed.
He was standing eighty floors up from it . . .
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The X-Rail sped along the tracks almost silently through the darkness, the only sound being the rush of air that swept up in its path. As he suddenly awakened from his sleep, he quietly looked around, feeling disoriented as to how he got there, and realized that he was alone. The rail car had another eighty seats, and a couple of cubed shaped private spaces to hold another twenty or so. Why was he alone on what appeared to be an abandoned railway car he thought, and why were there none behind or ahead of him, he decided to go have a look up front past a closed door, assuming there might be an engineer or conductor that could explain everything to him. Upon opening the door to what looked to be a control room, there was no one, only a digital dashboard on a panel that was in the center of the area, and four small windows curving around the nose of the rail car. Looking outside didn’t offer much of a view across the barren blackened landscape, except silhouettes of what was left of the bare and scraggly trees, illuminated by the largest sphere he’d ever seen. It was a magnificent site, filling the entire valley like a painting, with it’s reddish to orange glow highlighting the sloping hills of the countryside along the dark horizon. The giant sphere also provided the only light, as there were no street lights visible, or movements such as car headlights or landmarks that would suggest any living form. Thinking to himself that this obviously was back country or desert area that he had been traveling through, surely there must be a stop off in one of the upcoming towns. He returned to his seat, deciding to wait it out until then.
He awoke again after a period of time only to realize that nothing had changed around him, looking down at his watch he noticed the time had stopped, and looking out a small window near to him that the view hadn’t changed either, except that the illuminating reddish to orange sphere appeared to be much closer, and much larger than before. He pondered as to whether or not he was dreaming, but how could one have a dream about their presence in a dream, and question their presence in it at the same time (?) It was bizarre . . .
Being a model for future ground transportation, the X-Rail had been among the latest in automated engineering and high speed travel. It had an elongated cylinder shape a with rounded front that housed the control room, while the other end was equipped with high-tech boosters, traveling at hyper-speeds eight inches off the ground as it followed a buried underground circuit. With a capacity of one hundred, travelers could go from what used to be New York to the ruins of Los Angeles, in less than thirty minutes, virtually undetectable, and in complete silence.
There wasn’t much to see since the fallout, mostly a barren charred landscape left in the darkness, illuminated only by the reddish to orange glow from the large sphere that was Mars, and getting closer. Viral mutations from the recent biohazard substance that filled Earths atmosphere absorbed into the surface after the population had been overcome, causing Earths core to erupt, spilling out an intense hot vapor that devastated the landscape, leaving the charred blackened aftermath. As a result of that, Earths core temperature had been disrupted, causing it to move out of orbit aimlessly into space away from the Sun. The newly forming colonies on Mars then developed a way to bring the Earth closer by way of drawing what was left of Earths gravitational strength to their base command. It was estimated that less than one percent of the human population had survived, and it was only those that were selected from those remaining, that were being sent to Mars for the new world colonization. Those chosen ones were very few, and had been separated from the mutants, who were left behind to either fend for themselves or wither away.
He had been assigned his name for the new world awaiting his arrival on Mars, his identity would be introduced to the Mars colonies as Leg, he had been stamped with the H-88 tattoo at the rear of his neck, just above the spine, making him official, and that he was suitable for the regeneration and cloning. Leg was riding alone because the last round-up of suitable humans had revealed only one, which was him, and the reason he had survived while so many others perished, was because his genome structure had been designed years earlier, and the micro-chips that were inside the vaccine then tracked and maintained his genetic composition.
As the X-Rail reached its departure point, the sonic-boosters engaged, soaring quickly above Earths atmosphere, with destination Mars. The new world colonies would add another member to their perfect society structured of harvested genomes, Leg would be a part of the cloning that would regenerate a new population.
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Amid the confusion, protests, and change in political seats, the controversial vaccine was made available and the population would be under order to receive it. The fact that the screening for it involved a procedure that ran a long stem instrument up through the nose, penetrating the brain, was known to have included the insertion of a chip — a micro sized component with behavioral and tracking sensors — although it was not known that this was the way people would be controlled and tracked, cell phones would then no longer be needed for tracking, marketing, and behavioral analytics. Individuals could then be controlled specifically, according to a program contained within the micro-chip, where they would be monitored, and updated from the one of the main-frame structures located in the towers high above what was left of the decaying cities below. The timing was an essential part of the agenda, with the newly seated ones having already been selected, and paid, the vaccines were then made quickly ready for distribution, bypassing all regulations and testing that had been used in previous years.
Artificial Intelligence — AI — was already in place, and the extraction of human genomes from the vaccinated ones would add to the human-like characteristics of the AI Robots — known as AI-Bots, or Bots — creating a nearly indistinguishable copy. The only difference would be that the AI Bots had a body temperature of zero, and their eyes did not dilate. The end result beyond that would be the creation of a sub-species, one that would exist in harmony with the Bots . . . those were the vaccinated ones, known as V’s. It was all part of the plan put into place by a secret society that once ruled the globe, at a time before computer-tech, before social media, higher learning, and AI. The secret society took on a new level of their ruling invasion into people’s privacy, one that had the power to destroy the specimens if needed, they had a sub-species, the V’s, and they could be programmed to self destruct. The Bots however, proved to be indestructible due to the harvesting of human genomes, and the hybrid breeding with AI. Their onboard systems could manifest the genomes, multiply or mutate them within themselves or other Bots to form other beings outside of the labs, and bio-tech farms. They would be their own entity, and void of control or direction . . . Something that hadn’t been thought of during their creation.
Leading up to the vaccine, the bio-virus had engulfed the world, destroying nearly every living being, plants, animals, and humans. Any survivors of the fallout were left as mutants, who after being fitted with tech-hardware at the base of their skull, or at the base of their spines — controlling the central nervous system, and brain — Cyborgs were created, known as Borgs. This was something else also that hadn’t been foreseen during the development of the virus . . . This was the aftermath from the man-made computer-generated bio-virus, thereby creating a segue to the regeneration, the mutation, the hybrid genomes and AI, the forming of a new social ladder.
The struggle for global nuclear power had reached its final stages when all ruling elites had amassed enormous amounts of nuclear weaponry, due to the selling those weapons of mass destruction to foreign powers, with the end result being that all sides of the world had acquired equal amounts of nuclear arms . . . Finally, a stalemate situation — in their on-going game of global chess — freezing anymore “moves”, therefore a checkmate. From that point, a new ruling order would be necessary to reign as supreme over the rest of the world, and thus, bio-warfare became the new frontier in global power. Growing out of control rapidly with the global spread of the bio-virus, the need for the vaccine to be developed then became urgent, and because of that urgency, all standing regulations for discovery, trials, and testing, were bypassed in order to neutralize the virus.
Not having the knowledge of completely understanding it’s complex nature, hybrid-mutation, and aftermath, the seated ones hastily began the cover-up, the lies, and deception that had been conveyed to the world. Their efforts however, would be thwarted by journalists, writers, and other investigative individuals, who revealed the mass deception through disclosure, and obvious evidence of corruption, collusion, and conspiracy. Creating another level of disruption, as the population reacted with violence, and outright contempt for those seated ones in their plush ruling offices, who had deceived them. They had underestimated their total reign over the people, proving them to be unpredictable, and uncontrollable. Yet again, something else that hadn’t been thought of while in their madness for global supremacy.
Civil disobedience had also taken itself to a new level, and the term seemed meek, and mild, as the real battle was just getting started.
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Contamination released into the air was the result from the invasion, causing panic, fear, and hysteria. A lab based menu for destruction and global power that had been released into Earth’s atmosphere from a foreign laboratory, and manifested into human hosts, where it then multiplied across the seas onto American soil. No one seemed to know the real origin or location, although scientists had discovered it to be a man-made viral toxic substance, believing that it was in an experimental stage, and was developed for global warfare. It wasn’t until they started to figure it all out, and put the pieces together, that they came up with a better understanding of how the population had been betrayed, deceived, and their lives dismantled into segregation.
There were eighty-eight towers that had been built at the center of the country, formed around into a large circle, eight hundred feet apart, they were under construction prior to the devastation, and designed to house those that would survive after the fallout. The towers were massive structures built of concrete and steel, rising above the aftermath each with eight-hundred eighty-eight levels, the first eight levels were used for consumer trade, food, clothing, and medical services. Each level then above the eighth level housing having eighty-eight pod-like living quarters. Deep into the ground were eight more descending lower levels, the first four were used for maintenance, housing plumbing, electrical, water, heat & air-conditioning. The deepest, lower four levels below was where the segregation would begin with the poor social class and the worst of the mutants, while the rest of the towers would house all other social classes according to their status. The upper social class held residency in the most higher levels, the farthest away from the contamination, and the middle working class would be housed in what was known as the ‘midway’ — the mid-levels descending downward based upon social status — down to the eighth level, just above the consumer trade level.
Dar was fortunate to have a place at the tower, signing up before the contamination had reserved him quarters there — that was of course, based upon his survival from the fallout — after being examined by the medical staff for any mutations, and he was then assigned to the midway. If a mutation were to show up later on, he would have to be examined again, and then would be reassigned to others quarters down in the lower levels based upon his functional ability to contribute to the tower community.
Dense reddish to brown haze filled the air, it was most concentrated at the ground level, rising upwards several hundreds of feet above, eventually clearing somewhat the farthest away from Earth’s surface. The higher levels which housed the upper social class, were considered safer then those below them. Their view was limited by the fact that they could not see the ground below them, only the thick murky haze hovering over the barren landscape. The higher levels also had balconies, with eight foot high retaining walls that were eight feet out from the tower walls, with rectangular cutouts in the concrete structure that were eight inches tall and four inches wide, those residents were allowed outside only for brief periods, and only wearing a protective breathing apparatus. Inside, the towers were equipped with climate control, pumping fresh man made oxygen throughout, even down to the lowest levels. The towers rose up from the dense haze like fingers protruding through a pie, with its murky damp residue clinging to the exterior, oozing downward, much in the way pie filling would ooze down off ones fingers.
The atmosphere was bleak and filled only with a heavy silence as residents carried on with their indoor daily activities as best they could, and for some, life really hadn’t changed much since they had been preparing for the apocalyptic future for years. They had been forewarned of the imminent foreign siege for years while the towers were under construction, with most registering early for their quarters in the towers, yet others scoffed at the idea with their dismissal of the threat. There hadn’t been much hope for the population either when the real agenda was disclosed to them, and they realized then that they would be on their own to survive, relying on each individual to bring forth their own individual skills in hopes of rebuilding, regenerating, or at best . . . survival . . .
Dar was also fortunate enough to have a job too, although not for money, but rather for the work credits that would go toward food, medical, and rent. The monetary system had long since been abolished, the only ones who still had cash were the upper social class who held their residency high above the shroud of death that had settled over those below them. They were forming a new governing body, while the social ladder organized itself downward. Dar’s job was to don the protective headgear with attached breathing apparatus, and a one piece protective zip-suit, go out into the biohazard areas and look for mutant remains. Using lamps attached to the headgear, he would locate, collect and transport the bodies to the landfill, located at an area outside of the tower circle, using a front loader tractor, and then return back to the towers for medical examination and cleansing.
Along the way, he would pass by the launch area, where the X-88 Spacecraft would blast off to Mars on routine missions, carrying qualified passengers to the new world colony. There they would join with others where they would remain as specimens for cloning and regeneration of the population. Afterward, they would be assigned to the darkened, cold, isolated side of Mars with the rest of the earthlings where they would be injected with a deep-sleep serum, then placed in underground sleeping pods until only the ones with the best hereditary genes would be selected and called upon again for more cloning to regenerate the forming of a more perfect society on Mars.
While they were still inferior to the AI-Bots, the specimens genes were needed to make the Bots more human-like. The best ones were indistinguishable from human form, the only differences being that they had a body temperature of zero, and their eyes did not dilate. Some would then go on to be used as warriors, and others would be used in construction and landscaping. The remaining specimens would then be used as doctors and scientists, while others would be used for computer and tech maintenance. There would be no politicians, and no agendas. Finally, the ones with the purest of genomes would form the ruling elite, and reproduce.
This would be the normal structure of life between Earth, and Mars, as the tower residents knew it to be, living with the contamination . . . It was the aftermath . . . It was survival . . . It would be the regeneration, where mankind would evolve again.
The Mars population however, would carry on only in the capacity to exist in harmony with the AI-Bots, to maintain, service, and communicate with them . . .
Humans would then continue to evolve on Mars as a sub-species.
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The city at one time was the beacon of hope for the many who ventured across the waters and the canyon rock to get there. Situated in the bay, just inland from the main waterway, the old lighthouse still remained. Before the contamination, the abandoned port was a thriving seafaring locale, filling with workers, families attending church services, and tourists. The outbreak had shut the area down, with the city moving farther inland miles away from the lighthouse. What remained, had been ravaged by the weather, and lack of maintenance. No one would venture out to the uninhabited area, as it held the the ghostly secrets of the fallout, and was also suspect to have some sort of non-human activity there. It was believed that if there were any survivors, that they were left behind as mutants, and that beings from another dimension in the galaxy had inhabited the port, taking up residence of the bay area . . .
There were some who had claimed to have seen lights in the sky descending upon the lighthouse, having left behind debris floating in the water to travel along the coastal shore, and ending up at the waters edge of the newly formed city. Those who had made these claims had their suspicions confirmed when upon further inspection of the debris revealed what appeared to be remnants of a flying craft, a flying craft that had come from space . . . A spacecraft.
Reaching out to the authorities for help and documentation proved to be useless, although they were not interested, they were however spotted along the waterway late at night into the early morning hours collecting what they could at the waters edge, all the while staying clear of the lighthouse. The town folk questioned among themselves as to what they were looking for, and why not go into the lighthouse, because surely there must be more inside. This is how everything was left to be for the next eight years, until it would come to be on a warm summer evening when two youths who had grown into young men, decided to visit the lighthouse in search of some answers.
Making their way through the empty darkened abandoned field that separated the city from the bay area, they showed up one night with firehouse lamps, and some assorted tools. Finding the lighthouse door unlocked, they quietly stepped inside, it was eerily silent as they began up the stairway leading to the overlook platform, shining the light from their lamps along the way. Looking out over the stillness of the blackened waterway was pitch black, offering nothing to be seen until a set of lights appeared from up above. The young men huddled down together as the lights grew larger and more intense, one would exclaim to the other “they’re here” . . . Realizing then that all the claims, the sightings, and the myths would soon reveal to them what had been going on inside the lighthouse. Hearing the door open below them, and some scuffling on the stairway, they thought whoever was down there would be coming up for them, putting their lamp lights out, they crouched down in the darkness. To their surprise, they heard another door open and more shuffling, as the sounds faded off behind a closed door. They hadn’t yet made it downstairs to other doorway, and knew they would have to wait it out until the beings left . . . Sometime into the night, the scuffling sounds resumed again as the beings filed out, and the door was then closed and the main downstairs door opened, moments later the intense lights filled the air above them as the craft ascended silently up into the night air.
Returning back to the pitch black, the young men again lit their lamps and began down the stairway. They wanted to know what was in that room below . . . Using a crowbar to pry off the lock and chain, they stepped inside the lower level. Not seeing anything ahead of them but a descending set of stairs, they headed downward a short distance to where the stairway opened into a room. It looked like a lab of some sort, with steel exam tables, overhead were what appeared to be tools suspended on chains, and large egg shaped pods aligned along the walls, with smaller pods lined up on shelves above them. Some of the pods appeared to be moving in a jerking rocking motion. On another shelf were what looked to be body parts placed in large glass containers with liquid inside. Hands, arms, legs, and even heads were displayed within those containers, one even held a beating heart inside . . . Another shelf displayed robotic limbs, torsos, and mask-like faces that looked remarkably human, next to that were the faceless robotic heads . . . The warmth from the night air had been replaced by the freezing temperature of the room, their exhaling breath filling the cold night air.
Curious to know what the pods held inside, the young men focused on the one pod that was separated from the rest, and had been placed inside a cage. At that moment, the pod began the jerking rocking motion with more intensity then that of the others, causing its hatchway to pop open slightly enough for the young men to notice a large dark eye surrounded by saggy bald flesh. One of the men, although scared beyond any measure of all that he had ever witnessed in the past, reached for his camera. With the creature in the viewfinder, he pressed the shutter and the flash went off again and again as he moved around the pod and its inhabitant. Nearly exhausted from fear, but tempered with sheer curiosity, the two men watched in astonishment as the hatchway opened more, seemingly being pushed from the inside. A small hand with pink pale loose skin and black fingernails reached out from within the pod, knowing that the pod was contained inside the cage the men stood numbly frozen as the creature’s hand continued outward beyond the cage, stopping inches away from the camera and turning it’s palm upward . . . Upon which one of the men remarked “it wants the camera”, as the one visible large eye blinked at them. Pulling the camera strap away from around his neck, the young man held it just above the creature’s hand and placed it there slowly. The pale skinned hand pulled it back between the bars of the cage, and back inside the pod. After seeing a few flashes escaping from around the hatchway, the creature inside reached back outside the pod to return the camera, passing through the bars again as the young man turned his palm upward to receive his camera back. The pale skinned hand slowly placed the camera safely back into the mans hand.
Hearing the outer door of the lighthouse opening again, both men knew it was too late for them to get out, as they scurried to find somewhere to hide. Noticing the two unoccupied pods on the floor behind them, they each crawled into one as their breath escaped them and their lips trembled with a mix of adrenaline and fear. The shuffling sounds grew louder as the inside door opened, chains falling to the floor, the beings were now inside the lab with both men inside the two pods . . .
It was then, with a sudden hoist of strength, that they felt themselves being lifted up off the floor, still inside the pods, and after some bumping around, the sounds of rattling chains being pulled across the metal bars of cages confirmed that their worst nightmares had only just begun . . .
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