The human race was fifteen years out of its hardest conflict, the third and final World War. It had been a nuclear war, though most of the nuclear munitions were small strategical devices and the occasional dirty bomb. It only took thirteen high-yeild warheads to deter an all out assault; the fallout was responsible for the immediate decimation of the worlds bread basket and rice bowl. An unforeseen side effect had been to increase the global temperature by 1°F in addition to shaking loose a large portion of polar ice. The sudden increase in sea water had produced a tectonic fracture in the pacific that immediately sank the state of California in America, and completely overturned the Island of Japan. The entire Earth shook for more than a decade and the planet revolted against its inhabitants. In a flash, civilization in every industrialized nation had crumbled to nuts and bolts. In a year, two billion had died from war, radiation, famine, disease, and the wrath of a scorned mother nature. For twenty five years the war dragged on as dying nations clawed at each other for scarce resources. Eventually, regional alliances were formed. The squabbling began to melt away for a mutual interest in survival. Regions soon became sectors and then continents. As if to signal the change of an era, a small meteor had fallen into the pacific ocean, and the last shots were fired on June 6th, 2035. On September 11th of that year the entire reborn world was represented at the United Nations, and the first Global Consensus was convened. The War to End All Wars, the perpetual battle that had taken a total of four and a half billion lives, was over.
The end of the war brought with it a new age, and a new, more powerful world order. Humanity bounced back stronger, united and more determined than ever before. Everyone alive was bursting with freedom and vitality. In a decade new cities were built that dwarfed the ones they replaced in greatness. A new continent had risen out of the atlantic, with soil fertilized by millions of years of sea bottom soot that would in time become the new seat of human civilization. No one needed an enemy now-there was too much work to be done to waste ones time killing each other. And seemingly by extreme good fortune, the Earth healed along with the human race. The world was quickly becoming a nigh-utopia, and the human race soon began looking to accomplish everything imagined and conceivable.
It was July 24th of the year of first contact, 2050. Major Reid Magnuson of the newly formed United Nations Ministry of Aerospace was on his way to survey the new airport of the city of Osirus, which will soon be the capital of the United Nations. The airport will not only serve as transit to and from the new continent, but also as transit to the stars.
Reid had been shifting in his seat constantly. After eleven years of piloting he was never conformable during supersonic travel, no matter how smooth the flight. It was perhaps due to the fact that until recently nearly all of his flights were into combat, and who wouldnt be uncomfortable in that situation?
Is everything okay Major? Chimed a soft darling voice from above him.
Reid broke his dazed stare at the canopy of clouds to glance at the source of the charming inquiry, which was a slim brunette with big, caring puppy dog eyes and was wearing what looked like a cross between a formal military dress and a nineteenth-century french maid outfit.
Fine he replied at little more than a whisper before his mind leaped back to the sheet of clouds outside the window.
Oh, okay. She said with a delightful smile before patting his shoulder. Let me know if you need anything.
The pat on the shoulder had been a little affectionate, but the Major was too lost in his own head to notice. The only world he knew was one that was at war. He was barely a teenager when the war began, and the chaotic event had been the most of his life. This discomfort wasnt because he was going into combat-its was because of the total lack of it. Though he was glad, as everyone else was, that the war had ended he was unsure as to his function in society. He had been a soldier for so long that it seemed there was no longer a place for him on this Earth. Yet he dreaded the day, if ever it came, that he was once again needed in battle. So here he sits, staring into the infinity of the cloud space.
A few minutes later another voice came from on high, although this one not as pleasant and charming. This one was that of a young officer sent along with the survey team. Major Magnuson? It asked with anxious glee.
The Major was becoming more and more irritated with being reminded of his presence in the world, and tried to hide his frustration from the young man. That I am, he replied with cool restraint.
Lieutenant Alec Iverson, Aerospace Civil Engineering. The boy said as he thrust out his hand. His grip was weak and tense, his arm flimsy, and his shake too fast. The Major corrected this with a tight grip and one solid movement of his forearm. The Lieutenant seemed a little put off, but continued. I just have to say that its an honor to be serving with you, Sir. He continued with the same dumb-kid style.
Ah, Reid began, well thank you. He replied for lack of anything else to say to the kid. He had seen thousands just like him: born into affluence during the war, having had their parents make certain they never saw the front line. Most of them were paper pushers or white tag kids in the Aerospace Civil Engineering (ACEs as they were referred to), or Peripheral Utility Personnel (who processed the requests for nonessential equipment), or some other form of barely useless position that cheaply granted the prestige of an officer.
Youre a big inspiration of mine. Ever since the academy. Its a privilege to be working with a living legend.
Reid had enough. Much appreciated, He replied. His tone and dismissive nod had done the job where his words hadnt.
The Lieutenant let out a nervous laugh, nodded back and returned to his seat.
And once again the Major returned to the clouds. He had sort of hoped the cute Flight Op would return. He felt hed been rude to her. She was only doing her job when she disturbed him. Then as if by magik, her voice had manifest once again, although only on the overhead speaker. Attention all passengers, please return to your seats and fasten your harnesses. We are beginning primary decent and will touchdown in twenty minutes. Should you begin to feel ill, please use courtesy balloon provided in the rear of the seat in front of you.
A moment later the cloudscape dipped and the all-familiar feeling of free fall set in as the high-flying transport entered decent. Reid had done this at least a thousand times, and only on the first had he felt nauseous. Within two minutes, it was easy to spot every ACE and PUP on the flight-none of them had ever traveled hypersonic before and were all losing their in-flight meals. And what a shocker, Lieutenant Alec Whatshisname didnt know how to use the balloon. The Major thought of chastising him, but the lads companion were handling the job quite well.
The transport landed seamlessly, and within moments the passengers were beginning to disembark. The poor lieutenant was unloaded first and rushed to the nearest wash area. The Major exited last and was met by a welcoming party a dozen strong. One of them wearing a suite and hardhat stepped forward. Major Magnuson, He paused to offer a real handshake, Welcome to Osirus.
sdrawkcab dootsrednu tub sdrawrof devil si efil
(This message has been edited by Sargatanus (edited 07-29-2003).)